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This month’s content
Technical updates and reminders
Developments and changes to legislation and allowances relating to UK tax including:
- summary of COVID-19 guidance published by HMRC
- declaring coronavirus grants on company tax returns
- further support on COVID-19 schemes
- Freeports tax sites announced
- VAT reverse charge
- Working Tax Credits
- 2022 to 2023 Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings
- Capital Gains Tax
Making Tax Digital
- changes to VAT Registration System
- agent authorisation by client
- changes to the agent services account
HMRC Agent Services
Details of live consultations and links to responses, changes to HMRC service and guidance, including:
- Agent Talking Points
- support for customers who need extra help
- Government Gateway
- HMRC Research and Development
- reporting Dormancy for Corporation Tax
- Administrative Burden Advisory Board
- upholding our standards for tax agents
- licence application tax check
- tax agent toolkits
- alternative dispute resolution
- Trusts and Estates newsletter
Agent Forum and Engagement
Latest updates from the partnership between HMRC and the main agent representative bodies. Including:
- agent forum update
- issues overview group contact information for professional and representative bodies
Technical Updates and Reminders
Summary of COVID-19 Guidance published by HMRC.
Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted everyone’s ability to travel and continues to have an effect on our working patterns. We have introduced legislation and published guidance to help customers who may have been affected by the pandemic, including:
- Annex D: International tax clarifications due to coronavirus (COVID-19) – questions and answers
- Appendix 5: COVID-19 considerations for non-residents and non-domiciled employees
- New employee coming to work from abroad
- RDR4 overseas workday relief
- Residence, remittance basis etc (Self-Assessment SA109)
- Tax on your UK income if you live abroad
We introduced specific legislation ‘S109 Finance Act 2020’. This allows certain individuals, who were present in the UK for work related to COVID-19, either as a medical or healthcare professional or in relation to the development or production of medical products related to COVID-19, to disregard certain elements of the Statutory Residence Test (SRT).
This change applied only for the period 1 March 2020 to 1 June 2020 and made sure that days spent in the UK and UK ties were disregarded for all SRT tests. More information on the legislation is available.
The guidance available on this can be found at GOV.UK.
Important things to remember:
- the 60-day upper limit to exclude days spent in the UK due to exceptional circumstances has not been increased
- any days on which an individual works in the UK for more than three hours will not be covered by exceptional circumstances and will be counted as a UK workday
- an individual can claim exceptional circumstances for days they were unable to leave the UK due to COVID-19 travel restrictions (if their individual circumstances dictate this) up to the maximum of 60-days allowed by the SRT, when determining their UK residence position – these days are for the purposes of the SRT only
- the 183-day test when considering the Income from employment article of a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) is a separate test to the SRT – therefore, any days discounted for exceptional circumstances under the SRT due to COVID-19 travel restrictions should be counted as UK days for the 183-day test under the relevant DTA
The exception to this are days for ‘sickness’ which prevent the individual leaving the UK. HMRC accepts that days spent self-isolating or in quarantine due to COVID-19 may also be disregarded from the day count.
Days where an individual was unable to leave the UK due to COVID-19 travel restrictions will continue to count as UK days for the purpose of the 183-day test.
Declaring coronavirus grants on company tax returns
Coronavirus grants to support businesses during the pandemic are taxable.
If your client needs to complete a company tax return (CT600) and has claimed grants from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), Eat Out to Help Out (EOTHO), or any payments made by local authorities and devolved administrations, they’ll need to report this as income when they calculate their taxable profits.
If you are completing a company tax return on your client’s behalf, you will need to check the coronavirus grants they received.
Additionally, if your client received a CJRS grant, they will also need:
- to declare the amount they received (box 471)
- the grant they were entitled to (box 472)
- and any CJRS overpayment already assessed or voluntarily disclosed (box 473) during the accounting period covered by their CT600 return
They will need to complete box 474 if they received any EOTHO overpayments.
They must also include the grants as income when they calculate their taxable profits.
These boxes were added to the online CT600 on 6 April 2021, so if your clients filed before 6 April 2021, they would have been unable to declare this online.
If you or your client submitted a CT600 return without boxes 471-474 and 526, or left the boxes incomplete, and they have a CJRS or EOTHO overpayment to report they should resubmit the return.
If all coronavirus support overpayments are already repaid or have already been assessed before the tax return is filed – and there’s no coronavirus support schemes overpayment due – they do not have to correct the return.
Further support on COVID-19 schemes
You and your clients can sign up to receive regular email updates from HMRC, to keep up to date with the latest information on our COVID-19 schemes. You can simply register and add the subscription topics you’re interested in.
UK-Swiss Convention on Social Security Coordination
Following the signing of the UK and Switzerland: Convention on Social Security Coordination on the 9 September 2021, this Convention came into force, provisionally, on 1 November 2021.
Amongst other things, this Convention makes sure that all employed persons (and their employers), as well as self-employed persons are liable to pay social security contributions into only one country’s scheme at a time.
Individuals going to work in Switzerland should follow the guidance on GOV.UK.
No change to agent access to online short forms such as SA1 (Registering for Self-Assessment)
Since June 2021, individuals, businesses and organisations need to sign into Government Gateway with their Government Gateway ID to access our online short forms (often called KANA forms). However, we’d like to remind agents that their access to our short forms has not changed.
If you’re an agent, you can continue to access all our online short forms provided you are:
- using your HMRC registered agent ID to access the forms online
- enrolled for Self Assessment, Corporation Tax, VAT (and are VAT-registered yourself), Machine Gaming Duty or have an Agent Services enrolment
You can see what services you are enrolled for by logging in to your HMRC online services for agents account. Then select the ‘Services you can use’ link from the left menu. If you are having trouble accessing any of our online services, visit our technical support with HMRC online services page on GOV.UK.
If you have clients wishing to access our online short forms, we will ask them to verify their identity. We ask for 2 forms of identification and customers can choose from a range of options.
Find out more about the security changes we made in June by visiting the HMRC working with tax agents blog.
Self Assessment – COVID-19 support grants
HMRC has already seen thousands of people filing their returns early – more than 63,500 customers filed their tax return on 6 April, the first day of the tax year. And after a difficult year, beating the rush and avoiding the panic will be especially helpful.
We know that many Self Assessment customers and agents have been affected by the pandemic, forcing them to change the way they work. The way you adapted and responded to the pandemic has helped shape their future businesses. But in order to do that, some of your clients sought financial support.
This year Self Assessment customers must declare if they received grants or payments from COVID-19 support schemes up to 5 April 2021 as these are taxable.
- Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
- other COVID-19 grants and support payments such as self-isolation payments, local authority grants and Eat Out to Help Out
For more information about which COVID-19 grant or support payments need to be included in tax returns, agents and your clients can visit: reporting coronavirus (COVID-19) grants and support payments on GOV.UK for more information.
To make it easier both for you and your clients, its best to start gathering the necessary information together now to make sure there’s enough time to check it is correct and avoid delays.
Freeports tax sites announced
In the Autumn Budget the Chancellor announced that tax sites were being designated at the first group of Freeports.
Freeports at Humber, Teesside and Thames have had a total of 8 tax sites designated and these will become live from 19 November 2021 when initial operations can begin.
From this date eligible businesses in these tax sites will be able to benefit from tax reliefs including:
- an enhanced 10% rate of structures and buildings allowance
- capital allowance of 100%
- relief from Stamp Duty Land Tax
- rates relief
- from April 2022 and subject to Parliamentary process and approval, employer National Insurance contributions relief
More information on the various reliefs and guidance for businesses on customs processes can be found on GOV.UK.
The government continues to work with all 8 Freeports in England and expects the next set of Freeports to begin operations early next year. The government remains committed to establishing Freeports in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as soon as possible.
VAT Reverse charge on construction and building services
VAT registered construction businesses should note that this reverse charge came in on 1 March 2021. A Revenue and Customs Brief issued in June 2020 contains more information.
In January 2021, a letter was sent to every VAT-registered construction business. This followed letters previously sent out in February and September 2020, advising them to check if they’re liable for the reverse charge. If they’re liable, they need to apply these rules going forward.
Find more information on the scope and operation of the reverse charge.
The key aspects are:
- it applies to standard and reduced-rated supplies of building and construction services made to VAT and Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) registered businesses, who in turn also make onward supplies of those building and construction services
- the contractor is responsible for paying the output VAT due rather than the sub-contractor, and can continue to reclaim this amount as input tax
- the scope of supplies affected is closely aligned to the supplies required to be reported under the Construction Industry Scheme, but does not include supplies of staff or workers for use by the customer
- supplies to CIS registered businesses can be excluded from the reverse charge if the customer is an ‘end user’ or ‘intermediary suppliers’ (a business that is closely associated with an end user) – this exclusion covers property developers and other ‘deemed contractors’ provided that the construction services concerned are not being re-supplied by them – however, this exclusion is optional and only applies if the customer notifies their supplier in writing that they are an ‘end user’ or ’intermediary supplier’ – this can be done by correspondence or as part of terms and conditions – there is more detail in the technical guidance
We’ve been running webinars for businesses and they can register now. If there are no dates available, a webinar recording can be viewed.
Find more information on the Construction Industry Scheme.
Working Tax Credit – reporting changes to working hours
One of the measures we introduced during the pandemic to help those facing uncertainty was that Working Tax Credit (WTC) customers have not needed to tell us about any temporary reductions to their working hours as a result of coronavirus. This measure ended on 30 September 2021.
If your clients claim WTC, we need them to check they’re still working the hours they claim for. They have until 25 November 2021 to return to their normal working hours before the pandemic. Customers can check their current WTC claim details online on GOV.UK.
Customers can check how many hours they need to work on GOV.UK. If they do not intend to return to the hours they need to work to be entitled to WTC by 25 November 2021, they must tell us straight away.
After 25 November 2021, if they’re not back to working enough hours to be entitled to WTC they must tell us within one month.
Customers should still continue to tell us about any permanent changes to their circumstances – for example if they’re made redundant, lose their job, or their hours change permanently during this time.
Any changes can be easily reported online on GOV.UK.
If customers receive tax credits they’re not entitled to as a result of a change, they’ll need to repay this money and may also have to pay a penalty if they do not let us know within one month.
Anyone who is no longer eligible for WTC due to a change in their circumstances may be able to apply for other UK Government support, including Universal Credit.
For those looking to find a new job, there’s Government support available through the Job Help website. This offers a range of support, training and advice to help people find their next opportunity, including the Kickstart scheme and other Plan for Jobs support measures, along with advice on learning new skills and finding out who’s recruiting.
Sending you client’s 2022 to 2023 Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings return (ATED)
If you have not registered with HMRC to use the online service, you have until the 1 April 2022 to register so that you can file on time by 30 April 2022. Find out how to register.
The ATED period is 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023 and returns for that period must be filed by 30 April 2022 where your client owns a property on 1 April 2022. You cannot submit a 2022 to 2023 return before 1 April 2022, although you can begin populating an online ATED return from around mid-March.
When preparing to send your client’s 2022 to 2023 ATED return that you use the same credentials that were used to set up the ATED record.
If your client has disposed of a property, send an amended return or contact HMRC to notify us of this change. This will avoid unnecessary contact in future years for a return that will no longer be due.
If your client has changed relief code for a property or had a change in their circumstances, contact HMRC. This will avoid unnecessary contact in future years.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Payment for Property Disposals (PPD)
Two changes to the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Payment for Property Disposals (PPD) service rules were announced at the recent Budget.
1. Time limits
Customers will now have 60 days instead of 30 days to report and pay any tax due on UK land and property sales. Government has listened closely to feedback from stakeholders about their experience of the PPD service, and also noted the Office of Tax Simplification’s recommendation within their second report Capital Gains Tax – second report: Simplifying practical, technical and administrative issues. The extension to 60 days will allow more time for customers to produce and provide accurate figures as well as sufficient time to engage with advisers:
- if the completion date for the disposal was on or after 27 October 2021, customers and their agents have 60 days from the completion date to report and pay tax on a disposal of UK land and property that results in CGT to pay
- if the completion date was before 27 October 2021, customers and their agents still have 30 days from the completion date to report and pay tax on a disposal of UK land and property that results in CGT to pay
- customers can report and pay any tax due through our online service or by contacting their tax agent
The IT system is currently being updated with the new time limit. Until the update is complete, there is a message on the system, so customers are aware of this change when using the service.
2. Mixed use property
The rules are clarified for UK residents so that, where a gain arises in relation to a mixed-use property, only the portion of the gain that is the residential property gain is to be reported and paid via PPD. A mixed-use property is one that has both residential and non-residential elements.
Making Tax Digital
Changes to the VAT Registration Service (VRS) – agents registering their clients for VAT
We’re moving to a new IT platform to improve how we handle customer records.
Our VAT Registration Service has been live for UK companies to register themselves since November 2020. We’ve introduced testing for Sole Traders and other entities are due to come onboard before the end of the calendar year.
VRS is easier to use, more secure and user testing has found it more helpful to agents and their customers
We’re now looking to introduce the VAT Registration Service to the Agent community. Current plans are for agents to start to use the service during winter 2021t o 2022 and we’ll be providing agents with further updates to prepare them for starting to use new system, including information on how to register.
Registrations in the current process will need to be finalised before the switch over. We’ll give agents plenty of time to finalise existing registrations and also make them aware of a date for migrating to the new service.
Agent authorisation by client and MTD Income Tax Self-Assessment sign up – 4-month expiry period
We’ve made some changes to the recently released journey to authorise and sign-up new clients for MTD Income Tax Self-Assessment (ITSA).
Due to the decision to defer ITSA mandation we’ve decided to temporarily suspend the 4-month expiry period between a client accepting the authorisation from the agent, and the agent signing them up to MTD. Once the authorisation has been accepted, it will not be cancelled after 4 months if you or the client does not sign up to MTD.
We’ll reinstate the 4-month period when ITSA is mandated in April 2024.
Agents can still use this journey to create a relationship with new clients if they only have a Self Assessment Unique Tax Reference and sign them up where the ITSA service allows them.
Changes to the Agent Services Account (ASA) content – removing references to MTD
The Agent Service Account allows agents to access HMRC services to transact on behalf of their clients. All VAT registered customers will be mandated from April 2022, with some exceptions. Consequently, ASA will become agents’ one and only platform for managing their customers’ VAT affairs.
Therefore, we will be removing Making Tax Digital references from the VAT service’s content in the ASA as, from next year, MTD for VAT is expected to become Business as Usual for both agents and their customers.
HMRC Agent Services
Agent Talking Points
All agents will be aware of our popular agent talking points webinars, for which most agents receive regular Monday morning updates.
Support for customers who need extra help
We have principles of support for customers who need extra help. These set out our commitment to support customers according to their needs, and underpin the HMRC Charter.
Find out how to get help and what extra support is available.
Government Gateway – asking customers to confirm their email addresses
We regularly review our security practices to keep improving them. As part of these regular updates, we’re planning a small change to Government Gateway that you may want to be aware of.
We are asking some customers to take some quick steps when they next login to Government Gateway to help keep their account secure. This involves:
- confirming their email address belongs to them
- setting up a recovery word in case they forget their password
Customers do not have to prepare and will simply need to follow onscreen instructions. However, our support teams will be able to assist any customers who have difficulties.
HMRC Research and Development (R&D) SME Tax Credit claims processing (December 2021 to January 2022)
Submit Research and Development (R&D) claims as soon as possible to avoid a delay in receiving payments between December and January.
There are some periods during the year, linked to customer year ends, where the number of claims we receive increase significantly.
Between December 2021 and January 2022, we expect to be dealing with higher volumes of R&D claims. While we remain committed to our aim of processing 95% of R&D tax credit claims submitted online within 28 days of receipt, we may take longer during the peak period.
The 28-day processing aim does not apply to:
- claims not filed by the electronic portal
- claims where BACS details have been omitted or incorrectly supplied
To help us during the peak period, do not contact us to progress chase your claim. Only contact us if you have other questions about your claim.
For an update on the status of any R&D claim, customers should check the company’s online account to determine whether the claim has been processed. Payments processed will be visible on the company’s online account within 24 hours, however they may be subject to a further security check before they are issued.
Customers can email queries about the technical application of the R&D schemes to: RD.IncentivesReliefs@hmrc.gov.uk.
If customers need to speak to someone about an outstanding payment, allow 28 days before calling the Corporation Tax Helpline on: 0300 200 3410.
New Service for reporting dormancy for Corporation Tax
Later this month, we’re launching a new online service allowing companies and their agents to inform us if they’ve never traded, are currently dormant or have now ceased to trade.
To find out more about dormant companies.
Administrative Burden Advisory Board (ABAB) 2021 Annual Report
On 28 October 2021, the Administrative Burden Advisory Board (ABAB) published their 2021 annual report.
ABAB work closely with HMRC to make tax easier and quicker for small businesses. They provide valuable business insight and expertise, acting as HMRC’s critical friend.
The report, titled Better Tax for Better Business, covers key projects from across HMRC. This includes Making Tax Digital, impacts of COVID-19, UK transition and customer experience.
ABAB is made up of 13 members with a wide range of relevant business knowledge and expertise. The ABAB Chair, Dame Teresa Graham, said: “Despite 2020 being the year most of us (I think) would like to forget, there have been some highlights where ABAB has made progress and made a real difference. Key areas have been UK Transition after Brexit and Making Tax Digital, critically assessing HMRC’s performance in these areas and paying careful attention to the level of administrative burden which often disproportionately affects small businesses.”
Take time to read the report and share it with your colleagues and any small business owners you know. If you’d like to comment on this report or help ABAB with their work, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upholding our standard for tax agents
Our agent standard sets out what we expect from anyone who provides tax advice. It covers:
- professional competence and due care
- professional behaviour
- tax planning
- legal obligations
The agent standard also sets out how we monitor compliance and deal with breaches. As part of the government’s commitments around raising standards in the tax advice market, we’re currently reviewing our powers for upholding the standard. We’ll publish the outcome of our review in due course.
We urge you to familiarise yourself with the standard and make sure you meet the requirements. Most tax agents are professional and thorough in their work, but we know there are a small minority that do not meet our standard. Using the standard as a point of reference will help agents make sure they are meeting our requirements and help to identify any improvements needed.
We value our relationship with agents and the part they play in helping our customers meet their tax responsibilities, so it is important that standards of behaviour and capability are clear on both sides of our relationship with agents.
Our Agent Policy Team is working on a campaign to raise awareness of the standard, so watch out for more news on this when we have it.
Licence application tax check: information and communications resources
HMRC has published information on GOV.UK to help licensees and licensing bodies to prepare for new tax checks that were introduced in Schedule 33 of Finance Act 2021. The changes will apply in England and Wales from 4 April 2022.
HMRC has published on GOV.UK a toolkit of materials to help stakeholders to prepare for the changes.
We hope that you find these materials useful and that you will consider using them within your own channels to help us to communicate about the tax check to your clients. It includes a factsheet for licensees, a draft article, blog and social media assets.
We would also be grateful if you could let us have your feedback on the toolkit via the survey.
Who will need to complete a tax check
The tax check will be a new addition to the checks that licensing bodies already have in place and it will need to be completed when people are renewing their licences in England and Wales to:
- drive taxis or private hire vehicles
- hire vehicle businesses
- deal in scrap metal.
The tax check process will differ depending on whether people are applying for a licence for the first time or whether they are making a subsequent application, such as renewing a licence.
Getting a new licence
If people are applying for a licence for the first time, they will not need to complete the tax check. However, licensing bodies will ask them to read HMRC guidance on what they need to do to be properly registered for tax in the future and they will need to confirm they have done this.
Renewing a licence
From 4 April 2022, if people renew their licence or they apply for a subsequent licence under a different licensing body, they will have to do a tax check. They will be able to do this online through a digital service.
What is the role for agents
The tax check is not an enquiry or a compliance check into an individual’s affairs. It is a requirement that applicants will need to fulfil in order to obtain their licence.
It is designed to ensure that that those receiving a licence have complied with basic tax obligations, and it will become another check linked to the licensing process, similar to those fulfilled by applicants in relation to their driving licence status or right to work.
The new digital service is there to assist applicants in completing the tax check. The licensing body has to obtain confirmation from HMRC. Once they have completed the tax check, the applicant will receive a tax check code, which they will need to give to their licensing authority. This code allows the authority to obtain this confirmation using the digital service.
Licensing bodies will not have access to information about applicants’ tax affairs. They will only receive a simple confirmation that the tax check has been completed.
The majority of questions in the tax check relate to an applicant’s current or past licences. It also includes a small number of multiple-choice questions to determine whether applicants have notified chargeability for income tax or corporation tax, and whether income from the licensed activity has been reported to HMRC.
Because of the simple nature of the check and its link to licensing processes, the design of the service does not include an option for agents to complete the check on a client’s behalf. We would, however, expect agents to be involved in wider processes linked to the tax check. For example, this may include agents’ support for customers who need to register for the appropriate tax in order to complete the tax check, or to provide wider support linked to the registration process.
HMRC is continuing to design the new service and has carried out user research with agents to enable them to see the prototype in development. The idea of the service was well received by the agents who participated in the user research, and the large majority believed that their clients should be able to do the tax check on their own.
We will continue to engage with agents as we develop the tax check service. If you have any questions about the new tax checks or would like to meet and discuss it with us, email: email@example.com.
Check the status of tax policy consultations duplicated
Find out about ongoing and closed tax policy consultations.
This file is in an OpenDocument format.
Tax Agent Toolkits
HMRC have 19 agent toolkits available for you to download and use. They have been designed to address the most common errors seen from previous years. They include checklists of the key issues to consider and links to HMRC technical guidance and manuals.
The complete catalogue of toolkits can assist you with completion of:
- 2019 to 2020 company tax returns
- 2019 to 2020 Self Assessment tax returns including Capital Gains Tax toolkits
- 2019 to 2020 National Insurance contributions and statutory payments, employers’ end of year forms and 2020 to 2021 record keeping
- 2019 to 2020 property rental income
- 2020 VAT toolkits
By identifying the most common errors this may prompt a conversation between you and your clients to ensure submissions are correct.
If your client is in dispute with HMRC over an appealable tax decision, you may be interested in our Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service.
This service involves an impartial HMRC mediator working with all parties to prevent unnecessary litigation.
We hope to resolve tax disputes within 120 days using a collaborative and flexible approach, which does not affect your client’s right to appeal or review.
For more information visit the ADR webpage.
Did you know there is a regular Tax agent blog, highlighting the work HMRC do with tax agents, advisers and professional bodies?
We cover agent specific news and updates, consultations and HMRC’s agent strategy to name but a few.
You can subscribe to receive a notification when a new blog is posted.
To make a complaint to HMRC on behalf of your client you must be appointed as their tax adviser.
Employers need to register for email alerts
As the Department moves rapidly down the digital road, it is becoming more apparent that the days of paper mailings are numbered.
It is important agents encourage employers to register to receive email alerts, so, they are aware of the latest coding changes and important information that is published on the Government webpages.
Find out when you can expect to get a reply from HMRC to a query or request you have made. There is also a dedicated service for tax agents to:
- register you as an agent to use HMRC online services
- process an application for authority to act on behalf of a client
You can check the latest updates to HMRC manuals or subscribe to automatic notification of changes. You can also suggest improvements for pages of our manuals by using the feedback options in the page footer.
Residence, domicile and remittance basis manual (RDRM) and deemed domicile
The domicile chapter within the RDRM has now been updated to include the changes applicable from the introduction of deemed domicile. For more information, see the Residence, Domicile and Remittance Basis Manual on GOV.UK.
Trusts and Estates newsletters
HMRC regularly publishes a Trusts and Estates newsletter. It contains the latest news, updates and guidance on Inheritance Tax and trusts.
Information is available on any downtime that may affect the availability of HMRC’s online services. This is subject to change and confirmation by HMRC’s IT provider.
HMRC continuously monitors systems and customer records to guard against fraudulent activity, providing regular updates on scams we are aware of. If you have any concerns regarding the authenticity of any emails received from HMRC, see the online security pages for agents.
A new type of phishing scam regarding ‘tax returns’, which is being circulated in high volumes, has been added.
HMRC videos on YouTube, online learning modules, and live and pre-recorded webinars are available for tax agents and advisers providing you with free help, learning and support on topical subjects.
Employer Bulletin The latest edition of Employer Bulletin is now available and contains topical and useful information about PAYE processes and procedures. For employers to be informed when it is available on the website, they must first register to receive the email alerts.
National Insurance Services to Pensions Industry: countdown bulletins Countdown Bulletin 53 has been added to this collection.
Pension schemes newsletter This newsletter is published by HMRC’s Pension Schemes Services to update stakeholders on the latest news for pension schemes.
Revenue and Customs briefs These are briefs announcing changes in policy or setting out the legal background to an issue. They generally have a short lifespan, as announced changes are incorporated into permanent guidance and the brief is then removed.
Agent Forum and Engagement
Agent forum update
HMRC’s online Tax Agent Forum provides an online community where tax agents can connect and support one another. It also welcomes questions about our systems and processes which have a significant impact on the agent community. To access the Agent Forum, go to GOV.UK and use the registration link.
Agents are encouraged to follow the updated Agent Forum Good Practice Guide when posting. To aid triaging, agents are asked to keep posts to a single subject, with a maximum of 250 words, and provide titles which clearly indicate the subject and query. This helps everyone to identify subjects and themes and provide feedback and answers. Where necessary, extended evidence can be provided directly to the Agent Forum team.
Improvements and suggestions
More than 1,600 agents are registered and actively post on the Agent Forum. On 1 December 2021, we’re meeting with professional bodies for the annual review of the service. Agents are welcome to provide ideas and improvement suggestions for the service to their professional body representatives or direct to the Agent Forum ahead of the review.
Professional bodies on the Issues Overview Group and Agent Support Group have identified the following issues for escalation. Updates are available on the escalated issues board, which groups and provides links to related threads and supporting content on the main forum:
- SA1 processing times
- authentication of software for an application programming interface
- Self Assessment application programming interfaces not returning expected data
- HMRC emails that cannot be linked to a client
Agent Dedicated Line and customer service levels
We’re continuing to talk with professional bodies about improving to the Agent Dedicated Line. In the coming months these meetings will focus on strengthening customer service levels.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
Professional bodies met with HMRC representatives involved with Application Programme Interfaces (API’s) in seeking to strengthen co-operation on these services. Several ideas to promote best practice and improve support were discussed, including:
- to aid resolution of API queries, agents who are experiencing an issue are asked to check with their supplier whether it is a software issue before contacting HMRC – if it is identified as potentially widespread issue, report it to the HMRC Online Services Helpdesk and post relevant details on the Agent Forum
- as HMRC cannot share customer data with software providers, agents may be asked directly for specific information to aid resolution – do this quickly to enable tracing of a potential error
- separate any verification and authorisation queries from those relating to the operation of an API
- improved communications from software vendors on application versions in use and updates will assist in resolving queries
- warning of when an API authorisation needs to be renewed, (normally after 18 months), will assist agents
Further meetings, including software vendor representatives, are planned to continue discussions on the service.
Agents are invited to continue to post queries and evidence of API issues on the Agent Forum to aid these activities.
Issues overview group contact information for professional and representative bodies
ACCA Jason Piper
AIA David Potts
ATT Jon Stride
CIPP Lora Murphy
CPAA Alison Hale
ICAEW Caroline Miskin
ICAS Tax Team
ICB Jacquie Mount
ICPA Tony Margaritelli
IFA Anne Davis
VATPG Ruth Corkin
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